The Premier League was formed in 1992 and since then, it has never failed to entertain its audience every match-week. While there are many forms of entertainment, the Premier League has quite a few rivalries where we see tackles flying all over the place and the cards coming out from referee's pocket.
Several players have lost their cool during crucial games which has often backfired on their teams. There are even few instances where there was a post-game fracas off the pitch after the 90-minute period showing the level of emotional intensity.
Here is a list of top five match-ups in Premier League which have witnessed the most number of cards produced.
#5 Arsenal vs Tottenham - 216 cards
Derbies have always been an exciting aspect of the Premier League and its no doubt that the North London derby features in the list. This fixture has produced a total of 205 yellow cards and 11 red cards in 51 games played in the league so far. Arsenal have enjoyed a greater amount of success in the derby than their neighbours, winning 19 games - eight more than the Lilywhites.
There have been several fierce moments during the derby, among which Emmanuel Adebayor's straight red in 2012/13 season remains as the best one.
Adebayor gave Spurs the lead with just ten minutes on the clock. However, his stay on the field was cut short as he earned himself a straight red, eight minutes after scoring the opener. The Togolese striker put on a rash challenge on Cazorla and was rightly sent off by the match referee Howard Webb. Arsenal went on to win the game 5-2 against a 10-man Tottenham and eventually finished one point above them in the league table.
#4 Manchester United vs Arsenal - 217 cards
Arsenal and Manchester United have battled it out 50 times in the Premier League and a total of 209 yellow cards and eight red cards have been produced during their encounters. Red cards have been equally shared between the teams while Arsenal have received 5 yellow cards more than their rivals.
The 2002/03 season was been the worst for these two teams in terms of discipline. The fifth round fixture of the F.A Cup saw these two teams fight for a place in the quarter finals. The game was so heated up that the referee had to call both the captains to calm their players as three yellow cards were produced with just seven minutes on the clock.
Arsenal eventually won the game 2-0 which infuriated Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to such an extent that he kicked a boot across the changing room that hit David Beckham above the left eye.
Another infamous incident took place in 2003 when these two teams battled out to a 0-0 draw, which turned out to be significant for Arsenal as they went on to finish the league season without a single defeat. However, the highlight of the game was the intense moments surrounding Van Nistelrooy.
Here is a clip of those moments:
#3 Arsenal vs Chelsea - 218 cards
This is a more recent rivalry between North London Arsenal and West London Chelsea, which has increased in importance and intensity since Chelsea's emergence in the late 2000s. These sides have met 51 times in the Premier League and it is no surprise that this fierce rivalry features in this list.
205 yellow cards and 13 red cards have been produced in this fixture, making it third most in the list of bookings. The 2007 League Cup final showcased the dirtiest side of this derby. The brawl took place during the stoppage time of the second half which saw three players getting sent-off. This dragged the game till 102nd minute and eventually, it was Chelsea who came out as the winners.
Here is a clip of the brawl:
The most recent heated incident took place two seasons ago when Diego Costa had an altercation with Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista. Gabriel was ultimately sent-off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession while Diego Costa escaped with a yellow card.
#2 Everton vs Liverpool - 221 cards
Everton vs Liverpool, popularly referred as the Merseyside derby finds itself second in the list of number of bookings and first in terms of red cards alone. A total of 200 yellow cards and 21 red cards have been produced during this fierce fixture which shows the level of aggressiveness during the derbies.
Everton's home game against their neighbours in the 2006/07 season was one of the dirtiest games recorded in the Merseyside derby. Everton saw two of their players getting sent-off which helped Liverpool register a crucial away victory at Goodison Park.
Everton had a shout for a penalty turned down when Jamie Carragher brought down Joleon Lescott late on in the game and the fans subsequently gave referee Mark Clattenburg so much abuse at the stadium, after the game and online that he did not officiate at Goodison Park for six years after.
Liverpool have dominated the Merseyside derby by winning 22 games while Everton have managed to win only nine. An interesting fact involving this derby is that Everton have never won a penalty in this fixture while Liverpool have got so five times!
#1 Chelsea vs Manchester United - 238 cards
This clash between the two top clubs in Europe tops the list with a whopping total of 238 bookings in 51 games played in the Premier League. Chelsea have been at the receiving end of 127 cards while United have received 111 bookings.
Their controversial game came in 2012 which saw Manchester United winning against 9-men Chelsea. Branislav Ivanovic saw a direct red for tripping Ashley Young while Fernando Torres received a second yellow card for simulation and was sent-off which helped United score the winner in last 15 minutes of the game.
At the end of the game, Objects were thrown and a steward was injured as United's players celebrated - a sad conclusion to a thrilling game that ended in Chelsea's first Premier League defeat of the season.